On The River In Fairbanks

The Riverboat Discovery Tour was a nice little 3 1/2 hour trip on the river.

We saw how pilots up and down the river use it for take-off and landing.

We enjoyed looking at all the different real-estate up and down the river

We saw a demonstration of pups learning the ropes.  I’m confident they will make a great dog sled team this winter.  They pulled this gentleman (motor was taken out) for one huge loop.  It was a lot of fun to watch.

There they are taking off.  Hard to describe in the pic but they went all the way around that pond and back.

Coming up on a fish camp – cool stuff

And passed by the prettiest flower pots on this porch.

Soon our little tour up the river ended and our tummies were hungry for dinner.  So happy Dan and Rita knew just the place to take us.

Loved the use of this old contraption just outside the front door

Salmon was one of the things I wanted on this trip.  Somehow our trip to Alaska would not be complete without it.

The tough decision for me was between the garlic mashed potatoes and fries.  I was told the fries here were amazing but, but, but…I could begin to stutter at this point as there was such a beautiful ring to garlic mashed potatoes with my salmon dish.  No regrets.

Everyone’s dish looked equally amazing and the desert was delish too!

There’s something to be said about quality time with family and this was one of those evenings.

I still have lots of pictures to leaf through and at least two more Alaska blogs to follow.

To be continued…

Blessings – Debbie

Denali – ‘Til We Meet Again

This is the place we called home during our brief stay in Denali.  Photo taken from across the street and up the hill.

Photo taken the afternoon of our departure.  Oh what a beautiful day!

Buses were coming and going all the time…At any given hour, a half dozen buses or so could be seen out front.

Hubby and I spent part of the morning and early afternoon shopping at all the tourist shops.  Fortunately we were there at the end of season to catch many stores offering 50% off store wide.

We fell in love with this guy…

Around mid afternoon we hitched a ride on a bus to the train station.  One cool thing about the hotel – They took care of our luggage that morning and delivered it to the train station so that we didn’t have to fool with it that day.

Here comes our train in from Anchorage!

The brakes are engaged

Almost to a complete stop….

As she slowly passes by…

All Aboard!!!

Hubby and I made our acquaintance with the deck out back and stayed there for a good portion of the ride.

A view at some of the hotels and gift shops as we pass by.  That’s Horseshoe Lake down below.

I like to think of this trip as a five star ride.  It was a glorious day.  Temperatures were in the upper 60’s and no jackets were needed on the deck.  And with that, I’ll try to let some of the pictures speak for themselves as there are quite a few in this post.

We have quite a few cars behind us…

I can’t even begin to say how much fun we had back there…

This is one of my favorite pics of the train as we wind around those mountains.

As we pulled away, The glaciers came into view.

WOW, we can see!

Words can’t describe the emotion…

Just working on this post, brings a flood of amazing memories.  And if you’re wondering why I’m posting so many similar pics, it’s because I couldn’t pick out a favorite.


I heart the bridge with glaciers in the background…

Oh my word, there is Mt McKinley!  We could not believe our eyes…This was the only day while there that we were able to see the mountain range and Mount McKinley…From the ground. We did see the mountain ranges and Mount McKinley on our flight home.  More on that later…

As our train pulled into the station, I was so overjoyed from all the pretty things we witnessed this day.

Dan and Rita were right there to greet us as we arrived and what a joy it was to catch up with them and share all the excitement we experience in Denali.

This pretty much wraps up another beautiful day in Alaska.

To be continued…

Blessings – Debbie

Denali National Park

Denali National Park is one of the most amazing places I’ve been in my life.  A place we continue to talk about and already look forward to our next visit.

The lowest elevation in the park is 240 feet and the highest is Mount McKinley at 20,320 feet

Here we are enjoying our visit.

The colors were so beautiful.

Check it out!  Zoom little camera, ZOOM!  This is the best I could do with him.  This would be a caribou.

Bus Driver, stop this bus!  Well it didn’t go quite like that but this little guy was spotted and the driver gladly stopped the bus.  This little ground squirrel was right below my window.

This is my best shot of the moose.  We saw about 6 of them total but didn’t always have my camera ready.  We even saw a bull!

Another Caribou sighting!  Talk about a bus load of happy people.

We saw more than I can count of these guys in the wild and we even saw some domesticated ones which are called reindeer.  Of course the domesticated ones were not found in Denali.

Each view was worthy of a shot to remember

The Three Grizzly Bears – There was a momma (blond bear) with two black cubs and bear bait aka a human.  See photo below.  So the driver pulls over after someone on the bus yells out “BEARS”!  Some of the people on the bus begin to freak out when they see the human walking closer and closer to the bears.  He even crossed that little body of water and walked along side the bears.  The little cubs were curious and walked over to the edge of the brush but the momma just held her ground.

About that time the bus driver was ready to pull away saying the human knew what he was doing.  But no, the people insisted we wait right there to see to it that he was safe.  So we waited a little longer for all the freaked out people to calm down…Guess you had to be there.

Sorry, this is my best shot, it’s time for another camera for these shots.  Luckily the driver had a camera hooked to overhead monitors and we were all able to get a nice close look.

This sign has nails all around the edges to keep the grizzly’s from chewing up their signs.

Oh, we spy a glacier!  We didn’t have a nice clear day but we took in as much as we could from this trip.

And another

Oh my word, this Dall Sheep was resting right along side the road.

Quite fascinating to see these creatures climb and live on these steep mountains.

Again, there’s a big bird in there too, I forget what it is though.

Dall sheep with glaciers in the background.

One more shot…

Our narrow winding road.  Some of the folks on the bus had to switch sides as they did not like looking down over the edges.

We traveled 58 miles into the wilderness.  And thoughts of returning seems to be a daily occurrence.

The dense clouds still leave a little eye candy up there.  Would have enjoyed seeing a little more of the glacier and mountains.

Simply beautiful, here the sun came through and highlighted a small portion of the mountain.

Autumn was in the air

The night sky as our bus tour came to an end.

 And that wraps up a very short overview of our 8 + hour drive in the park.

To be continued…

Blessings – Debbie

The Alaska Railroad

A sheer and total joy ride is how I would sum this 4 hour train trip from Fairbanks to Denali.

Hubby secured Gold Star tickets – Basically the tickets allowed us to ride on the second floor, dine downstairs, have unlimited drinks and enjoy the great outdoors out on the railed deck in the rear of the upper level.

The photo below (left side) is hubby standing on the deck and on the right he’s sitting across from me checking out the menu in the restaurant down below/the ground floor.

We sailed over the river and through the woods…

My favorite spot on the train was the upper (open) deck.  Picture of the top of the cars and bridge we just crossed.

There was always scenery to enjoy

What a powerful sleek engine!

And what a fantastic route

This little old church along the tracks caught our attention.

We quickly noticed crossings getting fewer and fewer and the roads appeared to be little lanes.

These cars were just chillin’ as we passed by.

A look back at that bridge that we just went under.

The ever changing scenery…

And well on our way to Denali

The engine that could…

Another beautiful view

Next stop Denali!

Unfortunately we didn’t have clear skies to see “The Big One” aka Mount McKinley but we certainly made the most of it.

To be continued…

Blessings – Debbie

Fairbanks Continued

September 4th would be the exact day for this adventure.  We went back to Pioneer Village where we spent a good portion of the morning/early afternoon.

My brother-in-law (Dan) is head Engineer of the train (Engine No. 1) at the Village and here he is in action.

Lets get acquainted with Engine No. 1 – It was built in March of 1899 meaning it has already celebrated its 111th birthday.  Pretty Amazing!

Engine No. 1 in transit

How exciting it was to be there on the rare occasion that the Park uses it.  I think in the summer it runs 2x’s per month and on holidays.  Lucky us to get to see it in motion.

Hubby was the Guest Engineer on the first ride through the park.

Dan knows just what to do to keep that engine chugging on down the tracks

Choo Choo…

Engine No. 1

The Captain doing his thing…That’s my sister-in-law in the center as she was on her post preparing for the opening and ready to greet the passengers…I think it’s so cool that they donate their time to this Village.

After our train ride, hubby and I toured the grounds a little while.

Loved the old buildings on the property and the flowers.

This particular bush/flower was spotted all over Alaska it seems.  I really like how it drools that deep vibrant fuchsia.

An old wheel with antlers next to an old building – Quite clever.

A row of historic buildings – I like how they are all outlined with color.

We visit the Air Museum on the property – and I find my hubby to be my favorite subject.  This was right up his alley.

Some of the same pictures used above but thinned out a bit – you may click on any of the pics to enlarge.

After our tour at the Village, hubby and I visited the local Farmers Market.  I fell in love with this place!  There were so many talented artists and farmers with all their goods.  It was such a great way to spend the late afternoon/evening.

And this wraps up another day in Fairbanks…To be continued…

Blessings – Debbie

A Tour Around Fairbanks

This post holds quite a few pictures, so I’ll try to keep my words simple and let the pictures speak for themselves…for the most part.  Since I forgot to bring my camera with us on September 2nd, I’ll move along to September 3rd and share our visit with Dan and Rita in Fairbanks.

Our first stop was the Great Alaska Pipeline

A sign stating distances of where things were in terms of where we were at the moment.

I liked the Visitor Center distance at the top stating “not exact but close enough”.  As you can see, the Visitor Center was pretty much a stones throw from the Pipeline.

Dan has a lot of knowledge regarding the Pipeline and we were happy he shared with us

On to the next stop – Creamer’s Refuge – Creamer’s Farm took on a new meaning when they made available grain the Migratory birds in the 60’s.  Each year 1,000’s of geese and sandhill cranes gather to store up enough energy for their flight south.

Hubby and Dan check it out

Preparations for a long flight

Next Stop – University of Fairbanks Museum known as the Museum of the North – What an amazing structure.

Flowers – oh how they do stop me in my tracks.  The group was way ahead while I held flower studies on the grounds.

Oh dear flowers, I can’t pass you by without capturing a little snippet of your beauty

And so it goes – I took pics at the speed of lightning so my hubby, bro and sis-in-law wouldn’t have to wait long.

Just one last picture before heading into the Museum

This is the guy who was in charge of meet and greet at the entrance – I offered a friendly smile

And hubby offered his wallet while I continued to smile and hang on…

Moving right along…Here we have the skeleton of the woolly mammoth – I had no idea these creatures existed and well adapted to the glacial environment.  Fossil remains can still be found in Alaska.  The Mammoth could be as large as 14′ at the shoulders with tusks as long as 13′.

A male steep bison – this body was discovered in the summer of 1979.  It was then excavated and stored in a freezer until the mid 1980’s.  Then the taxidermy was performed.  How amazing is that?

An old Alaska Kayak – I love how this is showcased with paddles ‘n all.

On into the museum we enjoyed many works of art.  Here is Rita checking out this massive painting.  I really like this picture of her.

Next stop:  The Georgeson Botanical Garden – It’s used for research and provides food banks with produce.

Simply amazing

and beautiful

and full of surprises – It’s huge!

Pretty pumpkins and such

Such a pretty pansy – Love the color

The garden is well thought out and flowers and vegetables grow in harmony

The splash of pretty blue sky made such a beautiful background

and again

I don’t know what I expected but I certainly didn’t expect all of this in Alaska

Flower box – overflowing color

I enjoyed the unexpected

But this big blue eyed beauty was the prettiest of them all.  Her mommy let me take her picture and I didn’t hesitate.

What a little sweetheart – I wonder if her mommy made that beautiful dress?

Next Stop – University of Alaska Large Animal Research Station – A little visit with the musk ox – We got there too late for a tour but we enjoyed these animals.

Next on the list – First Friday aka Gallery Night!  Rita fell in love with this lovely painting and her hubby purchased it for her.

And what better cross street to find her painting than on the corner of Well and Good?

Off to the Alaska House art gallery

Loved this place – I brought up the tail end all the time as I lagged behind taking pictures.  There was never a question if I were in the front or far behind.  I was always the last one.

Onwards to Pioneer Park’s art gallery – but first things first, pictures!

I don’t know about you but I was so surprised to see so many beautiful flower gardens in Alaska.

I realize these pictures have nothing to do with gallery night.  But we were in Pioneer Village and when something cool shows up, pictures are sure to follow.

Nenana is her name, she measures in at 237′ long and was the largest sternwheeler built this side of the Mississippi.  Here she rests as a National Historic Landmark.

The Harding Rail Car – resides at the park.  It was used by President Warren G. Harding in the 1920’s when he visited Alaska.

The Harding Rail Car rests below that beautiful shelter.

Back to museums and goodies – I was specifically looking for a pottery piece.  The candle holders on the right intrigued me but they were not the ticket.  I think it had to do with a certain piece I saw the previous day and was not able to get it out of my mind.  Oh the choices…

After visiting 5 or so galleries we moved along to Wolf Run Restaurant for dinner.  For some reason, I got so tickled with this picture as you can see my hubby turning around to make sure I was still with them.

Loved the stained glass door of Wolf Run but didn’t like how the picture turned out.

But what I can say – Great place, delicious food and amazing atmosphere – What a nice day!

To be continued…

Blessings – Debbie

First Class to Alaska

On September 1st, we left beautiful southern Cali and spent our vacation in what I would call one of the most majestic places on earth, Alaska.  We were so happy to learn we had enough frequent flier miles to fly in the front of the plane all the way to and from Alaska.  It made for a comfortable flight in every way.

We were spoiled with all kinds of free treats on each flight.

We were also given the digEplayer to use.  We watched different shows and rested and the time went by quickly.

An hour or so prior to landing in Seattle we passed this mountain.

This was not Mount Rainier, we were on the wrong side of the plane for that pic.

So here we are in Seattle waiting on our next flight to Fairbanks, AK.  This gentleman struck me as a true frontiersman.  I liked his dress and enjoyed his conversation, he just didn’t know I took some pics to remember.

Shortly after our takeoff in Seattle we climbed past the clouds and flew over this beautiful sight.

I gotta say, as we flew into Fairbanks that evening, I couldn’t wait to see and experience Alaska with hubby’s sister and our brother-in-law.

A picture of the moon just before landing.

What a great flight and taste of things to come.  To be continued…

Blessings – Debbie